The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the use of an occlusal splint on postural balance considering the occlusal splint as a device for treating temporomandibular joint disorder. A randomized, controlled, prospective clinical trial was conducted. The research group consisted of 49 patients (36 as test group and 13 as control group) between 18 and 75 years old, both genders, diagnosed as temporomandibular disorder by Research Diagnostic Criteria/Temporomandibular Disorders questionnaire and magnetic resonance imaging of the temporomandibular joints. Test group was treated with orientations for physiotherapeutic exercises and occlusal splint, whereas control group received orientation for physiotherapeutic exercises only. Postural equilibrium was evaluated by means of a force plate. After 12 weeks, the groups were re-evaluated. Patients from both groups presented a significant increase in antero-posterior speed with eyes closed, test group (P < 0.001) and control group (P = 0.046). Only patients of the test group presented a significant increase in antero-posterior speed with eyes opened (P = 0.023). We concluded that the use of occlusal splint affected the postural balance.
Keywords: force platform; mandible; occlusal splints; postural balance; posture; temporomandibular joint disorders.